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Injured Indy 500 crewmember discharged from hospital, recovering from surgery

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INDIANAPOLIS – Chris Minot, the Rahal Letterman Lanigan crewmember who was injured during a pit top in Sunday’s 103rd Indianapolis 500, was discharged from IU Health Methodist Hospital Monday following surgery to his leg on Sunday night. The chief mechanic known as “Chachi” hopes to return to action in the NTT IndyCar Series soon.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing issued a statement on Sunday night following the Indianapolis 500.

“We were relieved to hear that Chris was in good spirits before surgery on his left leg,” the statement said. “He will be held overnight at IU Health Methodist Hospital. He has been a member of this team for almost 10 years and is a big asset. We have no doubt that he will come back stronger.”

Minot was getting ready to change the right-front tire on Jordan King’s Honda (pictured above), but King came into the pits and lost control. His car hit one of the wheels that was laid out for the pit stop and that wheel crashed into Minot, who was in his kneel down position to change the wheel.

The AMR Safety crew tended to Minot before carting him off pit lane. After a quick evaluation at the IU Health Infield Hospital, he was transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital in downtown Indianapolis.

King started 26th and had been running 21st before his second pit stop on Lap 69.  King lost control of the car and slid into the rear tire was set out to be put on and into the path of Minot, chief mechanic for the entry and outside front tire changer.  King later served a drive through penalty on Lap 80 while running in 20th place, two laps down. He went on to finish 24th.

It was his first oval race and first Indianapolis 500.

“I’m thinking about Chachi (Chris Minot) obviously,” King said. “I’m really disappointed in myself for the team, really for everybody.  I think we had a pretty strong car.  We were looking quite strong and making progress and looking at how the race finished, I think we could’ve been in the top 10, so that’s quite hard to swallow.

“First bit of call is to check that everything’s okay at the hospital.  It’s not good, it’s not what you want to do (injure a crewman).  It’s not.  I don’t even know what to say.  I’m really disappointed in myself and for everyone involved.  We could have had a good race but didn’t, so that’s that.”

WATCH: Red Bull F1 team completes pit stop in zero gravity

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The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.

With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.

Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.

With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.

“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!

“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”

Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.

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